“Hard Work and Team Play” are two intangibles that this All America pitcher for the Oakley Stingrays embraces.
By Ernie Rapiere
We open our 11U series on this year’s top players with a quick look at one of the outstanding pitchers that was named to TravelBallSelect’s 2011 All America honor role. This young athlete is Davis Heller. He is one of the many outstanding players on the #1 ranked Oakley Stingrays. Davis was one of the featured pitchers who helped lead the 2011 Stingrays to their second consecutive title at the Elite 32 World Series, along with winning the 2011 NYBC National Championship. With these two huge titles, the Stingrays capped off their season ranked as the TBS #1 team in the nation – an honor this team has held 3 straight years since they were 9 year olds.
Davis lives near Escondido California – just north of San Diego. He is in the 5th grade and already stands at 5’6″ and weighs 115 pounds. His doctors say that he could grow to top out at 6’10” – so he may well have a future in several sports. He comes from an excellent family tradition of athleticism. His father played Division 1 baseball and his mother played Division 1 volleyball – both at the University of Pacific.
At this young age, Davis plays multiple sports. He was the quarterback and defensive End on his Pop Warner team. But, while most kids of his skills have typically started playing travel baseball as early as 7 years, he is relatively new to the travel baseball circuits.
Thus far, he is primarily a pitcher, but also plays outfield. Davis joined the San Diego Show 10U in the fall of 2010 before moving to the Oakley Stingrays in April of 2011. He has only been pitching for less than 2 years.
A few examples of his accomplishments include; pitching his team past 6 teams that were ranked among TravelBallSelect’s Top 25 teams. One of these teams happened to be the top ranked Oakley Stingrays. While still a member of the San Deigo Show, he faced them in the finals of the Thanksgiving Super NIT. Not long after that game, the Show dissolved play for the season and his performance paved a path for him to join the Stingrays.
He worked hard to prove himself as a Stingray. As the season moved into its highpoints, Davis had become a key part of their pitching rotation. He started the semi-finals of the Elite 32 taking the mound against the Motor City Hit Dogs (MI). He returned to the mound in the finals when the Stingrays faced the (AABA World Series Champions and Top 5 ranked) Georgia Yard Dogs for the Elite 32 title. For that day, he pitched 6 innings, striking out 9, walked only 1 batter – and most important – gave up 0 earned runs. He also pitched the semifinals at the NYBC and led his team past the Houston Banditos along their path to winning the NYBC National Championship.
Davis’ coaches describe him as a very hard worker and a very good team player. He knows that everything in life is earned and playing time is not a given. During the first tournament that he ever played in travel baseball, he did not play a single inning – as he was a new player. But, where most kids would have quit, this only motivated him to work harder. As a result, he has come a long way. He attributes this progress to the outstanding coaching that he has received; starting with San Diego Show coach, Ramon Orozco and extending to Oakley Stingrays coaches; Larry Patino and Rudy Casillas. In addition, he has also worked very hard on his hitting with the help of a family friend, former Major Leaguer Tom Brunansky.
His favorite baseball teams are the Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers. He also loves to watch Justin Verlander pitch.
As the 2012 edition of the Oakley Stingrays take the field, they will feature many outstanding young athletes. Prominent among them will be Davis Heller.
This young pitcher is clearly a top player to watch in 2012.